Sterkvark found that sailing man-o-war fashion was quite different from a buccaneering cruise. For one thing, the Stormwind Sailors were squeaky clean sorts, and given to bursting out into sea chanteys with lines such as:
"We are smart and sober men, and quite without a fe-ar / In all the Royal N, there are none so brave as we are!"
What he wouldn't give for a hearty halyard chorus of "frigging in the rigging" !
He soon took to hauling himself aloft to the topgallant spar where he could slip into something more comfortable than his Admiral's disguise and share a quid with his parrot, taking turns spitingt tobacco juice on the jolly tars below. Used to the eccentricities of the Stormwind nobility, the officers and crew of the warship thought nothing of this behavior and went about their business.
So they proceeded until one foggy day in northern waters, a pirate ship bore down on them with broadsides blazing. Gazing through his cracked spyglass, Sterkvark uttered a mighty oath. Blistering blue barnacles! It was his old ship, the Blue Oyster!
But by the time Sterkvark reached the deck, the navy ship was in dire straits, a dozen holes below the water line, fires burning unchecked and all her guns disabled. Sterkvark raged across the listing deck crying "A hose, a hose, my kingdom for a hose!"
But to no avail. The crew were either dead or busy down below rehearsing for their big musical number that night. As "Onyxia's Revenge" burned to the waterline, Sterkvark was certain he could still hear them singing; "Three little maids from school are we..." It was very humiliating, especially for a Pirate King (and it is, it is, a glorious thing to be a pirate king).
Sterkvark had to admit, as he clung to a charred timber, that he was running through vessels faster than a gold farmer through Deadmines. His luck, he felt, was bound to change, and fortune, if it didn't precisely smile at him, eventually made a half-hearted grimace.
Just when it appeared that he and Davy Jones were about to become close acquaintances, a small native craft paddled over the waves. Although he could not speak the savage's native tongue, many years at sea had given Sterkvark a particular facility with the sailor's sign language understood by wharf rats and mooncussers across the many seas of Azeroth.
After frenzied gesticulation and much emoting of /beg, /cry and /lick, he got the message across to his rescuer that he wanted to find the pirate ship.
"Just lay me alongside, ye bison-headed heathen, and I'll rake her from stem to stern and take her for my own!"
The tauren paddler made some strange sounds that might have been comprehension, or perhaps indigestion, and off they went through the icy waters in search of the Blue Oyster that Sterkvark was already thinking of as once again his pearl.
It was a considerable letdown to discover that the only "great pirate ship" that the Tauren savage knew about was not a first rate, nor yet a sixth rate fighting vessel, but only great in comparison to his small canoe.
Still, beggers cannot be choosers, and so Sterkvark climbed aboard the "Dingy Dinghy", a paltry pirate pinnace of no great renown but in need of a captain. As he looked over his new command and the handful of bilge rats he now had as crew, Sterkvark mused;
"'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but 'tis enough. 'twill serve."
To which his first mate replied; "Cap'n, we be but humble sailors, not given to a-quotin' the likes of Billy Shakes. How about a chorus from H.M.S. Pinafore instead?"
Sterkvark promptly throttled him.
(To be continued...)
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